explorer of the seas

frankshipsea
13th December 2015, 12:15
just completed my first cruise as a passenger on explorer of the seas,i like many of you was not impressed with these big modern passenger ships,so i thought.
being a seaman in the 1960's and even working on m/s oslofjord i was not prepared for what this cruise was going to be like even sailing on november 13 ,a friday.
i can tell you now i loved every minute of this cruise from fremantle to sydney via new zealand.
our cabin was up on deck 12 higher than the bridge king size bed really nice nothing like i was used to on the old ships.
got invited by the captain to the bridge and was very impressed,no brass to clean but fantastic view had their own pantry up there plus a lounge to relax.
even though this ship carried over 3000 passengers i could always find a quiet deck to sit and remember my time at sea with nobody in sight.
the food was great the crew were helpful all the time and we even got a few lumpy days even for a ship this size she still got up a good roll i loved it.
so i no longer think of these ships in a poor light,the sea still is and always will be the one to rule on how fast or slow a ship can travel.

we had a medical emergency on the last day at sea and had to speed up to get into sydney,she was doing 22 knots, we arrived in sydney on a saturday afternoon and had to anchor until our sister ship sailed it was a great sight to see both ships passing in that beautiful harbour.

Mad Landsman
13th December 2015, 14:14
Great to hear from someone else who enjoyed a trip on one of these, relatively, big beasts.
Also, like me, you found the quiet spots and let the crowds do their own thing.

But, you still wont convince everyone - Don't knock it till you try it!

Erimus
13th December 2015, 15:34
We have had 5 cruises on large vessels and enjoyed every one...there is always somewhere to hide if you need to........and the quality and quantity of food and service has always been first rate..

geoff

chris8527
13th December 2015, 15:58
I reluctantly took my first cruise in 2003, giving in to some pressure from my wife. Since then, I have taken another 17, including 5 trans-Atlantics and a couple of Panama Canal trips, and have another 3 on the schedule. So I must be hooked. Each and every one has been beyond excellent. Yes, the ships are big and ugly and they don't look like the vessels of yore but a cruise is what you make it. We don't "do" casinos, we don't "do" bingo and quizzes & we don't "do" most of the other entertainment on-board. We do like to sit, read and bronzy on the boat deck. We do enjoy the tremendous variety of food. I enjoy the whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms (& sometimes even the gym.) And we enjoy some off-beat adventures in some of the ports of call.

I can only say, try it, you may have a pleasant surprise.

Farmer John
13th December 2015, 16:47
To twist a saying, I wouldn't want to be on any cruise that would accept people like me.

Mariner44
13th December 2015, 21:27
In early January I'll be heading out from Southampton for a 73 night voyage circumnavigating South America. The ship is small, 18,000 tons, so will visit some of the smaller ports. The last week has been fun, researching over the Internet what my wife and I will do as independent travellers rather than joining organised tours. The trick will be in not missing the boat when it sails! I'll be running my business from the ship - there's a term for this - I'm a "Digital Nomad" apparently. I find the big ships rather impersonal although there's always plenty to do, if that's what you want. This will be my 21st cruise....shame it won't count towards sea time for taking my Masters!

holland25
13th December 2015, 21:46
I have had three cruises on Princess, and one Carnival, and have enjoyed all of them. You can pick and choose your involvement as takes your fancy. The food has been good and the fellow cruisers have, by and large, been good company. The sea is still the sea, landfalls, sunsets, early morning arrivals in Sydney etc, are still magic.What is more my wife enjoys them as well, I am going again in Feb.

sidsal
13th December 2015, 21:57
Harvey
Hope you enjoy your S America cruise ! We did BA to Valparaiso some years ago - best cruise ever. Called at Falklands an the Wels settlement in Patagonia - from Puerto Madryn. Beagle Channel and Chilean fjords amazing. Capt's table and free access to the bridge made it great - First officer was an old Conway chap - like me ( only much younger !!) ( I am wartime vintage !!)
PS I see QM2 is doing around S America and it hardly calls anywhere - sounds a right con . Did a 7 day cruise on her and we were very underimpressed

Pompeyfan
13th December 2015, 22:28
frankshipsea

Glad you enjoyed your cruise. Many people who think they will hate cruising are often pleasantly surprised.

Harvey

I will try to remember to track your ship through the Panama Canal. As you know, I post the port webcams of the Panama and other ports in Cruises & Cruising here on SN. It would also be good if you could review your cruise when you return(Thumb)

Mariner44
14th December 2015, 07:39
Harvey
Hope you enjoy your S America cruise ! We did BA to Valparaiso some years ago - best cruise ever. Called at Falklands an the Wels settlement in Patagonia - from Puerto Madryn. Beagle Channel and Chilean fjords amazing. Capt's table and free access to the bridge made it great - First officer was an old Conway chap - like me ( only much younger !!) ( I am wartime vintage !!)
PS I see QM2 is doing around S America and it hardly calls anywhere - sounds a right con . Did a 7 day cruise on her and we were very underimpressed

Thanks, Sidsal - or should I say 'diolch yn fawr'. I did an 18 day trip on the Queen Victoria and like yourself I was unimpressed. The ship itself was lovely, but the Class system in particular really got up my nose.

Mariner44
14th December 2015, 07:43
frankshipsea

Glad you enjoyed your cruise. Many people who think they will hate cruising are often pleasantly surprised.

Harvey

I will try to remember to track your ship through the Panama Canal. As you know, I post b port webcams of the Panama and other ports in Cruises & Cruising here on SN. It would also be good if you could review your cruise when you return(Thumb)

Hi David, it is the Saga Pearl II that I'm travelling on. We have a one day stop at Colon before transiting the canal. From online reviews I understand that it is "Colon by name, colon by nature!" [=P]

Yes, I'll post a review.(Thumb)

Pompeyfan
14th December 2015, 07:47
Harvey

I forgot to say that Black Watch is due to transit the Panama Canal the same time as your ship, so hopefully a good photo opportunity?

Interesting that you mentioned the class system on Cunard ships. I have asked several people who did not seem too bothered. But your experience is exactly what I thought.

Have a good cruise.

Pompeyfan
14th December 2015, 07:56
Hi David, it is the Saga Pearl II that I'm travelling on. We have a one day stop at Colon before transiting the canal. From online reviews I understand that it is "Colon by name, colon by nature!" [=P]

Yes, I'll post a review.(Thumb)

Harvey

I had worked out the name of your ship!. I note that you wish to do your own thing in ports rather than joining organised tours, but I would make an exception in Colon.

NZSCOTTY
14th December 2015, 08:08
Frankshipsea I am glad you enjoyed your trip. My cousin from Scotland and wife were also on the same cruise and I was your pilot for the NZ fiords and also Picton. Pity weather was not the best in our early so called summer.
Having piloted these vessels for many years a cruise is the last thing I would want!

Mariner44
14th December 2015, 08:39
Harvey

I had worked out the name of your ship!. I note that you wish to do your own thing in ports rather than joining organised tours, but I would make an exception in Colon.

On my itinerary I have Colon marked as a Dhobi Day with maybe a visit to the Tax Free shopping zone.(Jester)

Mariner44
14th December 2015, 08:44
Harvey

I forgot to say that Black Watch is due to transit the Panama Canal the same time as your ship, so hopefully a good photo opportunity?

Interesting that you mentioned the class system on Cunard ships. I have asked several people who did not seem too bothered. But your experience is exactly what I thought.

Have a good cruise.

A neighbour who retired last year is doing the round the world trip on the Black Watch so we'll be meeting up in Santa Marta and then later on in Callao. I think we have to rendezvous on the quayside as security arrangements don't allow visitors.

John Cassels
14th December 2015, 09:10
Frankshipsea I am glad you enjoyed your trip. My cousin from Scotland and wife were also on the same cruise and I was your pilot for the NZ fiords and also Picton. Pity weather was not the best in our early so called summer.
Having piloted these vessels for many years a cruise is the last thing I would want!

Totally agree John , wild horses wouldn't get me on one of those floating shoe boxes.

Erimus
14th December 2015, 10:10
Harvey...what arrangements have you made regarding wifi communications?

I found on Pacific Rim/Alaska the signals were pretty awful and Princess on that cruise were charging 63 cents a minute from log-on unless you had a concession or a package.

The charges on RCL & Celebrity were much the same.....but in Europe I can use my '3' mifi when I need it at most places....

I had my old keyboard Kindle with me and found that I could do basic e-mails in Japan/Korea/China with little problem using their own system.....but wouldn't work in Vladivostok (or St.Petersburg for that matter...wonder why?).

The old Quest for Adventure looks good in its Saga role, see she is registered in Valletta..

Enjoy

geoff

ART6
14th December 2015, 14:25
I have never experienced a deep sea cruise although I had vague ambitions in that direction before my wife's condition deteriorated (Alzheimer's, sadly), but we did manage a cruise on the Nile and that was magical. In port every night and trips out with an Egyptologist every day to see the monuments and temples -- the pyramids, the sphinx etc.

It was a small cruise ship and the food was...well...a bit Egyptian, like beef bacon (whatever shoe that came from from) for a breakfast fry up, but the crew were great and so friendly, without the usual bowing and scraping.

There was no segregation into classes -- the ship was too small for that -- but everyone was assigned to dining tables of six for the cruise. We shared our table with a Welch coal miner and his wife, and a New Zealand couple and their son, taking a break on their way home from the UK so their trip was short. The coal miner and his wife, Dennis and Valerie, became our firm friends, and we enjoyed the trips out into the desert together where Dennis marvelled at the stonework and, with I suppose professional interest, wondered how the heck they ever dug up all that stone.

On one trip the New Zealand couple's son lost track of his parents so, with typical New Zealanders panache he joined us and seemed completely unmoved by the fact that he couldn't find Mum.

When the trip was finally over (and I could have wished it to go on for a lifetime) we all met up at the airport for our flights home, and Valerie embraced me and my wife in hugs that demonstrated the sheer strength of Welch women, while Dennis shook my hand firmly. My doctor assures me that my hand will eventually recover, but I should avoid making friends with Welch coalminers in future!

If I could I would go back to that extraordinary country again tomorrow, and enjoy the company of similar people that I met then. Not the same thing, perhaps, as a deep sea cruise on a floating block of flats, but it was an introduction. And I resisted the temptation to ask to view the engine room!

Mad Landsman
14th December 2015, 19:38
Regarding 'Class' arrangements on cruise ships. It is worth pointing out that Cunard are not alone in doing so, but differ to some extent by using it for marketing.

Celebrity have 'Concierge' and 'Aqua' classes, with separate dining, service and access to certain areas, for a little extra cost.

Royal Caribbean - When we were on Adventure of the Seas (identical to Explorer) we were living next door to a suite. We dined with the couple in there, by choice not because we had fixed dining, The flexible dining area is separate from the main dining room. When we went to the theatre, however, they had a special reserved area but we had to slum it with the proletariat.

MSC have 'cabin grades' - Bella, Fantastica and Aurea - each with their own levels of service but I think the dining is all in together.

Mariner44
14th December 2015, 21:04
Harvey...what arrangements have you made regarding wifi communications?

I found on Pacific Rim/Alaska the signals were pretty awful and Princess on that cruise were charging 63 cents a minute from log-on unless you had a concession or a package.

The charges on RCL & Celebrity were much the same.....but in Europe I can use my '3' mifi when I need it at most places....

I had my old keyboard Kindle with me and found that I could do basic e-mails in Japan/Korea/China with little problem using their own system.....but wouldn't work in Vladivostok (or St.Petersburg for that matter...wonder why?).

The old Quest for Adventure looks good in its Saga role, see she is registered in Valletta..

Enjoy

geoff

Saga provide free WiFi access on both the Pearl and the Sapphire. On the Sapphire at peak periods it can be difficult to log on, especially when passengers haven't logged off the server before switching off their devices. Early mornings, late evenings and port days were always good access times. My two trips on the Sapphire have, I must say, been impressive in all respects.

frankshipsea
15th December 2015, 02:39
hi scotty you did a great job and coming from 40 plus weather we loved the cold weather and clouds plus those fantastic waterfalls in milford sound thank you again.

Mariner44
22nd February 2016, 21:35
frankshipsea

Glad you enjoyed your cruise. Many people who think they will hate cruising are often pleasantly surprised.

Harvey

I will try to remember to track your ship through the Panama Canal. As you know, I post the port webcams of the Panama and other ports in Cruises & Cruising here on SN. It would also be good if you could review your cruise when you return(Thumb)

David,
More than six weeks through the cruise with almost 4 weeks to go. Fabulous holiday. You can follow it on www.harveybennettwordpressdotcom.wordpress.com
Even more enjoyable with the company of two ex-matelots aboard!
Harvey

Mariner44
20th March 2016, 18:46
Harvey

I will try to remember to track your ship through the Panama Canal. As you know, I post the port webcams of the Panama and other ports in Cruises & Cruising here on SN. It would also be good if you could review your cruise when you return(Thumb)

Hi David,

Got back yesterday after 72 days away. 18 ports, with two missed out because of bad weather - Port of Spain and Punta del Este, Uruguay. 23,500 miles travelled. Fantastic experience, although for some guests the first week was not a good one because of an unseasonably early storm after departing Madeira. Saga Pearl II is smallish so it got tossed around a bit :)

The quality of staff (Filipino) is excellent, and lots of long service crew which says a lot about Saga employment practices. Staff and management aboard worked hard to ensure that the cruise was a memorable experience for guests - for all the right reasons - and they succeeded. There was the usual cohort of moaners and some rude guests.....some folks are never happy unless they have something to complain about!

The entertainment was generally of good quality and high standard, something for everyone, really.

The highlights for me and the missus were:
- the Panama Canal transit
- meeting up with an ex-colleague in Guayaquil, Equador
- Lima
- the Chilean fjords, "glacier alley" and the Garibaldi Glacier
- a lap of honour around Cape Horn on a calm and sunny morning
- Buenos Aires, with a return evening performance by the Morgado Esteban Cuarteto and tango dancing, aboard. The quartet had done 3 performances on the Colombia - Peru leg.
- Rio de Janeiro, the trip to Christ the Redeemer (in clear weather), and an evening performance aboard by Samba Rio. The ship's doctor was on standby with the defibrillator!

And that's just to name the highlights.....there was much, much more.

Even better, the wife enjoyed it, so maybe we'll do the 66 night Central American Discovery cruise in January 2017, health permitting.

The only downside.......stepping on the scales yesterday. The dining was excellent with really good complimentary wines at lunch and dinner.

I can highly recommend Saga cruises.

If anybody wants chapter and verse (and photos) see http://harveybennettwordpressdotcom.wordpress.com

Harvey

Pompeyfan
20th March 2016, 19:49
Harvey

Glad you enjoyed your cruise. I missed you going through the Panama Canal although just caught Black Watch that was following you in Miraflores Locks as posted in Cruises & Cruising, The Panama Canal webcams 27th January 2016. If you have time, it would be good if you could copy the above in Cruise Reviews in Cruises & Cruising.

Pompeyfan
20th March 2016, 20:18
Harvey

Below is the Black Watch in Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal on 27th January 2016 following Saga Pearl II as posted in Cruise & Cruising here on SN. As I said above, I missed Saga Pearl II. The tanker shown on the port side of Black Watch is Happy Lady.

Many thanks for a great review of your cruise.

dave beaumont
26th February 2017, 07:57
I just came back from cruise on Explorer of the Seas to Pacific Islands and like frankshipsea i had a great time. Fully booked but bar a couple of small waits at my time dining didnt feel crowded.Plenty of deck space to relax in sun or shade. Added bonus you can go right up to the bow and just sit there and watch the world go by. Food, entertainment, crew was all great. If i had one complaint it would be everything in US$ but new that before cruise. Go again, yes but not on anything bigger. Dave